Rondon lets out frustrations on water fountain
Outburst in dugout was closer's attempt to get Cubs going
CHICAGO -- Manager Joe Maddon was a little surprised when Hector Rondon picked up a bat after pitching the ninth inning on Tuesday night. The Cubs' closer wasn't needed to pinch-hit against the Mets in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, which Chicago lost, 5-2. He's never had an at-bat.
Rondon had struck out Curtis Granderson in the ninth, then walked David Wright, and got the next two batters to fly out. And he didn't like the walk, so he took his frustration out on the water fountain in the dugout.
"I had already told him he was out of the game and congratulated him, and he was fine," Maddon said. "He picked up a bat, which I thought was curious. Then he walked to the water fountain and I cleared back because I didn't want to get hit by the back swing. He nailed it, man. Solid contact. He drilled whatever that valve is into the hose into the outtake."
Rondon was careful in his outburst. He did choke up on the bat and made sure no one was behind him.
"It caught me by surprise, but he was angry with himself," Maddon said.
"He was trying to wake everybody up," reliever Pedro Strop said.
Rondon admitted he was trying to get his teammates going. He had good form, Maddon said.
"Short stroke -- like a little chip shot to the green but with force," Maddon said.
• The Cubs have had a hard time getting anything started in the NLCS. Heading into Game 4 on Wednesday, Chicago was 0-for-25 leading off an inning. That's a stat Maddon wasn't aware of.
"I can't overstate it -- they've pitched well," Maddon said of the Mets. "I wouldn't doubt they'd do this to other groups of hitters."
• How much do the Cubs miss shortstop Addison Russell in the NLCS?
"You look at the record we had with him playing shortstop, and this is by no means negative toward [Javier Baez], but the combination of what Addison does for us defensively and offensively -- this guy can drive in a critical run," Maddon said of Russell, sidelined with a strained left hamstring. "He understands what's going on on the field. He really grew quickly. Of course, we miss him. Javy's done fine."
The Cubs were 34-19 with Russell at shortstop during the regular season. Baez has started there since Russell hurt his leg hitting a triple in Game 3 of the NL Division Series.
• Tuesday's NLCS Game 3 between the Cubs and Mets on TBS averaged 9.2 million total viewers. It was the network's most watched LCS Game 3 ever and most viewed NLCS game of all time.